It’s rare we preview an event that is 36 years old and so well-known, but as the numbers attest MS Sydney to Gong is still not to be missed.
Dawn on the outskirts of inner-Sydney, thousands of cyclists line up, the early start has already beaten the traffic. The most competent, fit and regular cyclists are amongst the first to depart. A lane is reserved to get everyone out of the city safely and keep the cars out, once heading south along the Princes Highway, the line of riders stretch and thin out. Groups will split and reform as the natural selection of pace takes shape.
Glance over your left shoulder and you’ll see the sun rising over the glare and sparkling water from Tom Ugly’s Bridge, soon you’ll be entering the second declared National Park in the world. Motorbike escorts control the descents – be careful you don’t want to end up in the back like Richie – or running the course like Froome. It’s all lush, green, and rolling through the park, and no matter what your pace, the climb up Bald Hill is never short. Once summited, the views atop the escarpment are worth it.
Crossing the Sea Cliff Bridge is a highlight and having the lane to you and your mates is a luxury, forget the ETA and enjoy the views. It’s worth signing up as a team, and keeping a working group together as the undulations and ocean breeze (read: crosswinds) can draw out the run to the ‘Gong. There’s usually a few other strong bodies tagging along and willing to do a turn too.
The crowd cheers and announcers call names, 90km may not deserve a reward but the feeling of achievement creeps in and goosebumps tingle when crossing the line to a crowd, their positivity is infectious and undeniable. It is possibly the most uplifting Sunday ride you’ll find all Summer and all for a good cause.
- Take the early start time: the pace (30km/h) should be within many regular cyclist’s ability.
- Form a team: it adds some friendly competition to the fundraising and ride.
- Plan your return: train, drive, or make it a real challenge and ride back.
MS Sydney to the Gong is on Sunday, 5 November, 2017. Head to the website here for full details, and spare a minute or two for these two nicely crafted videos:
Video: This bike has MS